Comment on ‘the measure of all things’

Hans Halvorson

I do not wish for this article to be taken as an argument for mind-body dualism (in an ontological sense); and I don’t think I even intended it to be when I wrote it. This article is part of a collection; and, as such, it was composed in interaction with editors who had their own opinions about where I should place emphasis.

The real question behind this article is the extent to which the quantum measurement problem is premised on reductive materialism. I would like to think that a physicist could simply be neutral on the question of reductive materialism – which seems like heavy-duty metaphysics. But if one is neutral about reductive materialism, then does one have a “measurement problem”?

One thing I deeply regret about this article is that it could be taken as a criticism of those great philosophers and physicists who have brought attention to the measurement problem, and tried to solve it. One thing I greatly appreciate about their work is their intellectual honesty, and their resistance of the “shut up and calculate” mentality that is a cancer in contemporary science. Nothing I say should be taken as a criticism of these philosophers’ intellectual project and the progress they have made on it. I just wonder whether their problem is also a problem for me.